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Thread: Pentair Panel or AquaCheck strips: Which one do I believe

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    Otis Campbell's Avatar
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    Pentair Panel or AquaCheck strips: Which one do I believe

    I've been relying on my Pentair Diagnostics to measure my salt level. All summer it has been measuring 3600 or so very consistently. So I haven't added any salt since May. However I have been struggling to keep my chlorine level in the 4 - 6 range without adding chlorine. Everyone keeps telling me to add chlorine until my "SWG can keep up" but that hasn't happened yet. I'm running the SWG at 100% from noon to 8 PM every day. Neighbors with salt water pools in my neighborhood are not adding salt although their pools are generally smaller than mine by about 10,000 gallons.

    Another important fact is that I've also had trouble getting my CYA up to the 70-80 range and I've assumed that is why my SWG can't keep up.

    So just for fun I bought some AquaCheck test strips. This morning they gave me a reading of 2,720 and the Pentair panel says my salt is 3,650. My Intellichlor generator recommends a range of 3,400 to 3.600. So if the strips are right I need to add salt but I don't know which reading to trust.

    Thanks.
    Inground Gunite, plaster surface. 28,000 gallons, modified L shape with diving area and play area, attached spa, all pentair equipment, SWG, variable speed, DE Filter, Nature 2 Express. Taylor 2006 test kit.
    Why should you become a Lifetime Supporter of TFP? Because the first time you have a problem and you get the solution at TFP you will recoup your cost many times over.

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    Re: Pentair Panel or AquaCheck strips: Which one do I believe

    The salt level is not the problem.

    Please post a full set of test results.

    What size of cell do you have? What test kit are you using?
    16k gal plaster with raised spa, Jandy DEV60 filter, 2 HP 2-speed SHPF Jandy Stealth pump
    Hayward Aqua Rite T-15 SWCG, Jandy LXi 400k BTU NG heater, 350 sq.ft. of Sun Star solar panels, TF-100 Test Kit, Dolphin s300i Cleaner
    Test Kits . Pool Math . Chlorine/CYA Chart . The SLAM Process

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    Otis Campbell's Avatar
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    Re: Pentair Panel or AquaCheck strips: Which one do I believe

    Here are my test results. I'm using a Taylor 2006. You may find my chemistry thread helpful. I have a Pentair IC 40.

    FC 4.0
    PH 8.0
    TA 140
    CH 300
    CYA 60 (maybe 65)

    http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...480#post731480
    Inground Gunite, plaster surface. 28,000 gallons, modified L shape with diving area and play area, attached spa, all pentair equipment, SWG, variable speed, DE Filter, Nature 2 Express. Taylor 2006 test kit.
    Why should you become a Lifetime Supporter of TFP? Because the first time you have a problem and you get the solution at TFP you will recoup your cost many times over.

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    Re: Pentair Panel or AquaCheck strips: Which one do I believe

    You are only adding 2 ppm of FC a day running the SWG at 100% for 8 hours. That amount is marginal with the CYA at 60 and explains why you need to supplement with bleach.

    You need to add 4 more pounds of CYA to raise it to 80 ppm. If it has been over a week since your last addition of CYA then go ahead and add some more.

    You should add some run time to the system so the SWG will make more chlorine than the 2 ppm. Run the pump on the slowest speed that will still allow enough flow for the SWG to work for the extra time needed to generate the FC which will help save on electricity. If you don't want to run the pump longer then keep supplementing with bleach.

    Work on lowering the pH and TA.
    16k gal plaster with raised spa, Jandy DEV60 filter, 2 HP 2-speed SHPF Jandy Stealth pump
    Hayward Aqua Rite T-15 SWCG, Jandy LXi 400k BTU NG heater, 350 sq.ft. of Sun Star solar panels, TF-100 Test Kit, Dolphin s300i Cleaner
    Test Kits . Pool Math . Chlorine/CYA Chart . The SLAM Process

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    Otis Campbell's Avatar
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    Re: Pentair Panel or AquaCheck strips: Which one do I believe

    Thanks. Earlier in the season I tested how low I could go and still get the SWG to work so I'm already there. I don't mind adding the bleach.

    I've been told to be careful adding CYA since the only way to get it down is to drain the pool. So I've been adding about 2 pounds a week for a month and have barely budged my level. Any ideas?

    I drop MA in the pool 2 or 3 times a week and the PH comes down for a day or two and then it is back up. Trying to only solve one thing at a time but am open to suggestions.
    Inground Gunite, plaster surface. 28,000 gallons, modified L shape with diving area and play area, attached spa, all pentair equipment, SWG, variable speed, DE Filter, Nature 2 Express. Taylor 2006 test kit.
    Why should you become a Lifetime Supporter of TFP? Because the first time you have a problem and you get the solution at TFP you will recoup your cost many times over.

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    Re: Pentair Panel or AquaCheck strips: Which one do I believe

    Have you been backwashing at all during the time you have been adding the CYA? Four pounds should raise it a little more than 15 ppm.

    How low are you dropping the pH when you add the acid? Do you have high TA fill water? Do you have any aeration happening when you run the pool?

    We can work with you on the CYA and pH at the same time as the CYA is a slow process and the pH needs to be addressed daily if need be.
    16k gal plaster with raised spa, Jandy DEV60 filter, 2 HP 2-speed SHPF Jandy Stealth pump
    Hayward Aqua Rite T-15 SWCG, Jandy LXi 400k BTU NG heater, 350 sq.ft. of Sun Star solar panels, TF-100 Test Kit, Dolphin s300i Cleaner
    Test Kits . Pool Math . Chlorine/CYA Chart . The SLAM Process

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    Re: Pentair Panel or AquaCheck strips: Which one do I believe

    Quote Originally Posted by Otis Campbell View Post
    Thanks. Earlier in the season I tested how low I could go and still get the SWG to work so I'm already there. I don't mind adding the bleach.

    I've been told to be careful adding CYA since the only way to get it down is to drain the pool. So I've been adding about 2 pounds a week for a month and have barely budged my level. Any ideas?

    I drop MA in the pool 2 or 3 times a week and the PH comes down for a day or two and then it is back up. Trying to only solve one thing at a time but am open to suggestions.
    So, you know how low an rpm you can use to keep your swg making chlorine. But you'd rather buy and lug bleach rather than run it longer? My Vs is allowing the chlorine to generate at 1000rpm but I can't run it for less than 12hrs to keep up.
    Pool size: 24000gal inground Vinyl-Taylor k-2006 and k-1766 test kits and-speed stir
    Intermatic P1353ME digital timer w/freeze sensor
    CircuPool Si-45 SWCG System
    Polaris 280 vacuum/Polaris PB4-60 boost pump
    Pentair IntelliFlo VS 3hp Pump--Pentair sand filter

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    Re: Pentair Panel or AquaCheck strips: Which one do I believe

    Quote Originally Posted by timerguy View Post
    So, you know how low an rpm you can use to keep your swg making chlorine. But you'd rather buy and lug bleach rather than run it longer? My Vs is allowing the chlorine to generate at 1000rpm but I can't run it for less than 12hrs to keep up.
    I'm sorry but I don't understand what your point is. What I'm trying to communicate is that until I get my CYA up I don't mind adding a quart of bleach every 5-7 days rather than using more electricity to run my pump and put more hours on my SWG. Perhaps I don't understand the economics as well as you do but it is a small amount of bleach and not much of an inconvenience.

    I'd really like some help in understanding why my CYA is still too low when I have added over 4 pounds over the last month. I have not backwashed but I have had to add water as the temperature got over 100 quite a bit over that same time period.
    Inground Gunite, plaster surface. 28,000 gallons, modified L shape with diving area and play area, attached spa, all pentair equipment, SWG, variable speed, DE Filter, Nature 2 Express. Taylor 2006 test kit.
    Why should you become a Lifetime Supporter of TFP? Because the first time you have a problem and you get the solution at TFP you will recoup your cost many times over.

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    Re: Pentair Panel or AquaCheck strips: Which one do I believe

    Four pounds is only 15 ppm in your pool and that is close to the accuracy of the test. We say the CYA test is +-10 ppm. Add four more pounds and you should be good to go.
    16k gal plaster with raised spa, Jandy DEV60 filter, 2 HP 2-speed SHPF Jandy Stealth pump
    Hayward Aqua Rite T-15 SWCG, Jandy LXi 400k BTU NG heater, 350 sq.ft. of Sun Star solar panels, TF-100 Test Kit, Dolphin s300i Cleaner
    Test Kits . Pool Math . Chlorine/CYA Chart . The SLAM Process

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    Re: Pentair Panel or AquaCheck strips: Which one do I believe

    My point is you complain about your swg not keeping up with your fc requirements. First you thought you had a salt problem-- you didn't. Next you thought it was because your marginally low cya was the reason. The real reason why is you don't run your swg long enough to mfg the fc you need. You're too concerned about adding hours to your cell to do what you need to do.
    Pool size: 24000gal inground Vinyl-Taylor k-2006 and k-1766 test kits and-speed stir
    Intermatic P1353ME digital timer w/freeze sensor
    CircuPool Si-45 SWCG System
    Polaris 280 vacuum/Polaris PB4-60 boost pump
    Pentair IntelliFlo VS 3hp Pump--Pentair sand filter

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    Otis Campbell's Avatar
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    Re: Pentair Panel or AquaCheck strips: Which one do I believe

    Quote Originally Posted by timerguy View Post
    My point is you complain about your swg not keeping up with your fc requirements. First you thought you had a salt problem-- you didn't. Next you thought it was because your marginally low cya was the reason. The real reason why is you don't run your swg long enough to mfg the fc you need. You're too concerned about adding hours to your cell to do what you need to do.
    Thanks for your input. I'm very new at this and you are obviously very experienced so I appreciate your patience and willingness to help. I appreciate your advice about SWG run times. As I've posted here to understand and correct my issues no one has ever suggested that before. The general theme around chlorine levels has been that I would need to add chlorine until my SWG could keep up. No one has ever suggested I needed to work my SWG harder so it could keep up until.

    If you can bear to indulge me I have several questions.

    1. How do I know that I don't have a salt problem. I'm not questioning that you and ping are right I'm just trying to learn. I have two very different readings so how do I know which one is right?
    2. I get that I need to run my SWG longer. When my CYA gets to where it needs to be will I be able to scale that back or not? Perhaps I need to just do trial and testing to figure that one out.

    Thanks.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by ping View Post
    Have you been backwashing at all during the time you have been adding the CYA? Four pounds should raise it a little more than 15 ppm.

    How low are you dropping the pH when you add the acid? Do you have high TA fill water? Do you have any aeration happening when you run the pool?

    We can work with you on the CYA and pH at the same time as the CYA is a slow process and the pH needs to be addressed daily if need be.
    I added four pounds on Sunday. I'll test again this weekend. Finally getting around to answering your questions.

    I drop the pH to 7.5 when I add acid. On several occasions I have added MA waited an hour or so, tested again and it hasn't been down to 7.5. So I add more MA and test again to confirm I got it down. I test a day or two later and it is back up to 7.8 to 8.0+.

    I don't know if I have high TA fill water. I'll test it and report back.

    I have a little aeration. I have a fountain in the spa and the spa overflows into the pool. Earlier in the summer I ran the blower in my spa for 4 or 5 days straight and the TA didn't budge.
    Inground Gunite, plaster surface. 28,000 gallons, modified L shape with diving area and play area, attached spa, all pentair equipment, SWG, variable speed, DE Filter, Nature 2 Express. Taylor 2006 test kit.
    Why should you become a Lifetime Supporter of TFP? Because the first time you have a problem and you get the solution at TFP you will recoup your cost many times over.

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    Re: Pentair Panel or AquaCheck strips: Which one do I believe

    Your swg will tell you when you have a salt problem. It will stop generating chlorine. And I would assume give your some kind of indicator that it had stopped. I hear the aquacheck is the best of several test strips but nowhere near as accurate as the Taylor 1766 test kit. But, whatever test you use, it's irrelevant to whether your swg will generate FC or not . Only the swg itself will determine that. If your goal is 4ppm then then you should dial up your swg to run longer. Until it keeps it there. Your goal may need to be higher though. My recommended level is 4-11. I'm running my cya at 80. Like you said, once you find out what % and runtime to use (trial and adjust) you won't have to add bleach. Aeration shouldn't do anything to TA we use it to adjust pH up without increasing TA. Your TA is already too high.
    Bottom line, if I were you, I'd set it to run 100% for 12 hrs then adjust down from there. Make sure you have the right goal.
    Pool size: 24000gal inground Vinyl-Taylor k-2006 and k-1766 test kits and-speed stir
    Intermatic P1353ME digital timer w/freeze sensor
    CircuPool Si-45 SWCG System
    Polaris 280 vacuum/Polaris PB4-60 boost pump
    Pentair IntelliFlo VS 3hp Pump--Pentair sand filter

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    Re: Pentair Panel or AquaCheck strips: Which one do I believe

    I have been targeting 4-6 FC all along. When I add bleach I use PoolMatch to calculate the amount needed to get the FC to 5.5 to 6.0.

    I changed my schedule today. When I run the cleaner at the higher rpm it doesn't appear that the SWG is generating chlorine. So I'm running my Kreepy Krawly from 6AM to 9AM and the SWG from 9AM to 9PM.

    Here are my test results today:
    FC 4.5 (I haven't added bleach all week)
    PH 8.0+ (very red)
    TA 140
    CH 300
    CYA 70

    So I added bleach and MA to get the FC and PH to my target. There was still a small amount of CYA in the sock in the skimmer so I squeezed the sock a few times to stir it up.

    I also performed a limited test on my fill water:
    PH 7.4
    TA 100

    I'm going to test my PH later this afternoon and add more MA as needed.
    Inground Gunite, plaster surface. 28,000 gallons, modified L shape with diving area and play area, attached spa, all pentair equipment, SWG, variable speed, DE Filter, Nature 2 Express. Taylor 2006 test kit.
    Why should you become a Lifetime Supporter of TFP? Because the first time you have a problem and you get the solution at TFP you will recoup your cost many times over.

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    Re: Pentair Panel or AquaCheck strips: Which one do I believe

    Running your cleaner shouldn't have any affect on chlorine generation whatsoever! Pool math says your goal should be 4-11 4 being the minimum. Your bright sun is likely using up your chlorine faster than your swg can generate it. Are you testing daily? It appears not. I have no idea what your ic40 is rated for, but if it's only at 40,000, then it might be too small --recommendation is for at least 1.5 X your pools capacity. Rating is in lbs chlorine gas/ 24 hr period.
    Actually, I found it is 1.4lbs per day which increases fc by 6 in a 24 hr period 3/ 12 hrs or 2/ 8hrs (just like ping said).
    Pool size: 24000gal inground Vinyl-Taylor k-2006 and k-1766 test kits and-speed stir
    Intermatic P1353ME digital timer w/freeze sensor
    CircuPool Si-45 SWCG System
    Polaris 280 vacuum/Polaris PB4-60 boost pump
    Pentair IntelliFlo VS 3hp Pump--Pentair sand filter

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    Re: Pentair Panel or AquaCheck strips: Which one do I believe

    Quote Originally Posted by Otis Campbell View Post
    When I run the cleaner at the higher rpm it doesn't appear that the SWG is generating chlorine. So I'm running my Kreepy Krawly from 6AM to 9AM and the SWG from 9AM to 9PM.
    I'm guessing that Otis sees bubbles at his return jets at low flow, but no bubbles at high flow, and thinks no bubbles means the SWG is not working. I had the same thought when my SWG was installed.

    I think some of the chlorine escapes in the bubbles at low flow because I found my SWG was more efficient at high flow when the bubbles disappeared.

    I mentioned this in another post and a number of folk replied they had never come across this effect before, so it may be specific to the IC40. My theory is that higher, more turbulent flow in the cell produces smaller bubbles, the smaller bubbles dissolve much faster than large bubbles, and are gone before the water gets to the return jets.

    Otis, you might want to try running your SWG at a higher flow. I have an IC40 on a 20,000 gal pool and only need to run it two hours per day at high flow, however my daily FC loss is only 0.5 ppm
    Cheers, Peter
    20,000 gal, 52'x17' kidney shaped IG, Pebble Tec, IntelliPro P6E6VS4H-209L pump. Intellichlor IC40 SWG.
    300 sf Sta-Rite System 3 cartridge filter. Poolvergnuegen 4-wheel suction pool cleaner. TF-100 test kit.

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    Re: Pentair Panel or AquaCheck strips: Which one do I believe

    The reason I concluded that my SWG isn't generating chlorine when the cleaner is running is because the display for "Sanitizer Output" does not have any of the % lights illuminated. Normally it has the 100% light illuminated. When I had it set to 80% the 80% light was on. When I performed my FC overnight loss test and had the SWG set to 0% none of the lights were illuminated. So that is the basis of my conclusion. Not bubbles or anything else.

    At 9:00 AM when my schedule changes from pump to pool mode the SWG lights up the 100% light.

    My IC40 is indeed rated for 40,000 gallons. My pool size 28,000 * 1.5 = 42,000 so according to that guidance my SWG may be slightly too small. Would a 2,000 gallon variance create a significant shortfall in the SWGs ability to adequately chlorinate my pool?

    I have been targeting 4-6 because that's what this sticky says to do.

    Here are my test results this morning. I'm making progress on CYA and the FC is above target per the sticky. I assume that is the result of higher CYA, cooler temperatures and longer SWG run time.

    I'm making some progress. Here are the test results this morning
    FC 6.5
    PH 8.0
    TA 130
    CH 350
    CYA 80
    Inground Gunite, plaster surface. 28,000 gallons, modified L shape with diving area and play area, attached spa, all pentair equipment, SWG, variable speed, DE Filter, Nature 2 Express. Taylor 2006 test kit.
    Why should you become a Lifetime Supporter of TFP? Because the first time you have a problem and you get the solution at TFP you will recoup your cost many times over.

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    Re: Pentair Panel or AquaCheck strips: Which one do I believe

    Are the lights in a Pentair panel or on the top of your SWG?

    My IC40 is not controlled ftom a panel so I rely on the bank of LED lights on the top of the SWG. There is a light that turns green when the cell is turned on.
    Cheers, Peter
    20,000 gal, 52'x17' kidney shaped IG, Pebble Tec, IntelliPro P6E6VS4H-209L pump. Intellichlor IC40 SWG.
    300 sf Sta-Rite System 3 cartridge filter. Poolvergnuegen 4-wheel suction pool cleaner. TF-100 test kit.

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    Otis Campbell's Avatar
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    Re: Pentair Panel or AquaCheck strips: Which one do I believe

    The lights on top of the SWG. I'm referring to that range of lights from 20% to 100%. I'll try to take a picture and post it if you would like.
    Inground Gunite, plaster surface. 28,000 gallons, modified L shape with diving area and play area, attached spa, all pentair equipment, SWG, variable speed, DE Filter, Nature 2 Express. Taylor 2006 test kit.
    Why should you become a Lifetime Supporter of TFP? Because the first time you have a problem and you get the solution at TFP you will recoup your cost many times over.

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    Re: Pentair Panel or AquaCheck strips: Which one do I believe

    I think I read the ic40 is rated at 1.40 lbs of chlorine gas in 24 hrs at 100% I don't know right now if that will keep up with daily fc loss down there since only you can determine that from experience. I'll check it out a little later.
    Update:
    My spreadsheet says you might expect your swg to produce 3.36 ppm fc running it for 12 hrs@ 100%. Like I said, only you can determine if that's enough to keep up with fc loss during that 24 hr period.
    Pool size: 24000gal inground Vinyl-Taylor k-2006 and k-1766 test kits and-speed stir
    Intermatic P1353ME digital timer w/freeze sensor
    CircuPool Si-45 SWCG System
    Polaris 280 vacuum/Polaris PB4-60 boost pump
    Pentair IntelliFlo VS 3hp Pump--Pentair sand filter

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    Re: Pentair Panel or AquaCheck strips: Which one do I believe

    My IC40 is wired such that it has power 24/7 so the LED lights stay on all the time. The LED configuration on top of the SWG is shown on Page 7 of this manual.

    http://www.pentairpool.com/pdfs/Inte...tor520589K.pdf

    When the pump shuts off the "Flow" light turns from green to red, and the "Cell" light goes out. The "Sanitizer Output" lights and the "Salt" light stay lit continuously nomatter if the pump is on or off.

    Whwn the pump is on the "Flow" light turns green and the "Cell" light turns green indicating the cell is making chlorine.

    If the Sanitizer Output is set at less than 100% the "Cell" light will go blank from time to time even when the pump is running indicating the cell is not producing chlorine.

    Otis, I think you said in your first post that your panel gives you the salt ppm, I don't have a salt ppm reading on my SWG so where are you getting this?

    Is it possible there is a timer somewhere in your wiring that is cutting power to the SWG in the early morning?
    Cheers, Peter
    20,000 gal, 52'x17' kidney shaped IG, Pebble Tec, IntelliPro P6E6VS4H-209L pump. Intellichlor IC40 SWG.
    300 sf Sta-Rite System 3 cartridge filter. Poolvergnuegen 4-wheel suction pool cleaner. TF-100 test kit.

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